Disclaimer/Warning: I've got to be honest- I had always wanted to write a fic including gymnastics (since I spent a good chunk of my life in a gym), but I live in the States and I realize that there are differences between UK gymnastics an US gymnastics- unfortunately, I don't know all of them. Like, for example, I'm not altogether sure what "Under 7's" means. Because of that, this story might be AU and I don't even know it. My apologies.
So if/when I get a term or two wrong, please forgive me (but then tell me, so I can change it). Be considerate, though. I'm doing my best.
Disclaimer II: I don't own Doctor Who or anything Doctor Who-related. I can see your shock from here, believe me.
From his spot in the gymnasium, the Doctor could keep close watch on the gymnasts, which was fine with him; that way he could see the accidents happen. If he was supposed to treat these girls, he might as well know what was going on when they got hurt.
Not that he wanted them to get hurt. No, certainly not. If he didn't have to treat any swollen ankles or ripped tendons that day, that would be fine with him. But where there were fearless eight year olds doing dangerous flips and twists on the floor exercise or bulky fourteen year olds running headlong at a stationary vaulting horse, well…naturally, there'd be a few injuries.
Everyone had been calling him the 'physical technician.' He wasn't sure why 'doctor' didn't suffice as far as his title went, but he wasn't going to argue with any competition officials. Probably no one wanted to call him 'doctor' because they weren't entirely sure if he was a doctor or not. Understandable, he decided, because many times at gymnastics competitions, the person in charge of handing out ice packs and applying pressure to wounds was just a coach at the host gym and didn't really know what the hell they were doing.
…Which scared the Doctor to death, the more he thought about it. Who in their right mind would take over the duties of a doctor without really being a doctor? Especially looking after gymnasts. He had decided that anyone who did gymnastics- especially at the competition level- had to be completely lacking of brainpower. No one in their right mind would choose to do this sport.
The competition had officially started about an hour ago, but he had been there for two hours beforehand, setting up. Every half-hour or so he had to remind himself that he was there not only take care of the gymnasts, but also to keep on the alert for an alien substance called Camidropro, which commonly disguised itself as a material similar to crushed velvet. Many of the leotards at that particular competition were made out of what was seemingly 'crushed velvet'… of course, crushed velvet didn't emit a signal that was receptible by the sonic screwdriver. Camidropro, on the other hand, did.
One set of gymnasts, all clad in identical blue and white leotards, had particularly taken his interest. They were a very talented group and he watched them the most out of all of the other teams (which worked out fine because their leotards happened to be made out of the potential- Camidropro).
These girls joked and laughed and acted silly when they were warming up, but when the competition began they became focused, perhaps even a little intense. The girls still occasionally pushed each other jocularly or made a face to loosen nerves, but they were now that they were alert and attentive, possessing routines without many flaws.
There were six girls in all in a range of body types, which surprised him. He supposed all of the particularly tall or lanky girls were weeded out by the time they reached the Olympics, so that was why all of the ones competing at that level seemed to be the same- eighteen years old, huge shoulders, no chest and gigantic thighs. Oh, and two six-inch scars on their knees, from where they had been dislocated and had surgery to relocate them.
He squinted around the gym looking for traces of perspiration on the girls, but nothing was visible yet. Yet. That meant no proof. But the moment a bead of sweat rolled off of one of those girl's noses, he'd be there.
He sighed deeply, examining the team in the blue and white that he had adopted as his own. He listened to the coach direct the girls before they warmed up their beam routines, and noticed, happily, that their knees were all scar-free.
"You get two passes to do your mount through back handspring, two passes to do the handspring through the dismount, and one pass to do both," the coach told the girls. She seemed to be a little distracted. "We have four and a half minutes on the timer. Steph, are you ready?"
The girl in the front of the line- a terrified looking blonde, about eight years old- stepped up to the side of the beam and mounted, after one of the judges had given her the go-ahead.
The young girl ran through the beginning of her routine hurriedly, jumping down from the beam just after she had finished a very shaky back flip.
"Keep your toes pointed on that handspring, Stephanie," Coach told her, a scowl of disapproval on her face. "That's up to two-tenths, yeah? Don't flex them."
The girl sighed and shook her head, moving towards the back of the line. Her teammates mounted the beam in the same fashion and did exactly what the first had done.
Stephanie was up again soon. She jumped up and acted as though she had just done her handspring, smiling proudly and 'finishing' (which the Doctor had learned wasn't the end of the routine, just the end of the skill) with a flourish. She then did some more dance steps, a handstandand then dismounted: a back gainer off the side of the beam.
Once again, each girl did exactly as the first did. In a way they seemed like robots, each imitating the first. But even within that, each gymnast had her own style and moved differently than her predecessor. Despite the fact that each routine consisted of the same tricks, every routine was quite different.
And since they were all different, Coach had no shame in telling the girls exactly when and where they were losing points.
"One minute," the judge announced. Coach looked stricken.
"Oh Lord - alright, girls, hurry it up. Run through the routine but skip the dismount and the jump sequence."
The girls exchanged nervous glances.
"C'mon, c'mon, we've got sixty seconds!" Coach clapped her hands as she spoke. "Go, go!"
Stephanie hurried up to the beam and obliged, the others followed suit. Just as the last girl dismounted, the judge announced, "Time."
"I'm sorry, ladies," the coach said, taking a stack of scorecards out of her back pocket. "You took too long. Don't go over time, okay? That's up to seven-tenths penalty."
Coach wiped her brow with her free hand; the Doctor noticed her fingernails were long and painted scarlet. She wore virtually no cosmetics and her hair was pulled into a tight ponytail. Finally, he saw that she wore a navy-blue jumper bearing the word "Coach" in large, bold letters.
"We're going in reverse- alphabetical order, alright?" she said, shuffling the cards. "So…Rose. Rose Tyler, you're first."
A brunette girl at the end of the line stood up, pulling at the back of her leotard; the Doctor laughed lightly, as all of the gymnasts competing had been forced to pull at their leotard at one point or another.
She smiled at the other gymnasts and cracked a joke while she waited for the judges to get organised, even jumping up and down a few times to calm her nerves.
The Doctor watched this girl intently- this poor little girl. She must only be about nine years old, eleven tops, but she had the confidence of someone three times her age. She set her jaw forward and cracked her knuckles. The Doctor could only envision what terrifying things must be going through her head. What if she fell? What if she slipped? Her handspring had been a little shaky, after all. But before long, one of the judges made eye contact with her, and it was all over.
"Rose?" the judge asked. The brunette smiled and saluted, proper gymnast-fashion, then stepped up to the side of the beam. She placed her hands just above the beam, took a deep breath and…
The girl took off like a rocket, her mount a little wobbly, but otherwise not bad. She did a sequence of poses, making her way down the beam, and then a full turn. After the turn, though, the pace of the routine slowed considerably.
She kneaded her lips, inhaling deeply, and slowly raised her arms above her head. She placed the heals of her palms together and set her feet so that they were both firmly planted on the beam. The girl closed her eyes momentarily, breathing through her nose. Then, without warning, her eyes flew open and she brought her arms down, crouching into a very slight squat.
The Doctor was sure he was the only one who saw her foot slip.
She never even stood a chance- she was crooked from the beginning. Her left hand made contact with the centre of the beam, but her right hand had nothing to grasp hold of but air. She managed to catch her foot on the beam, trying to keep from falling off, but it didn't matter. The brunette fell to the mat, her entire body crumpling on top of her right arm.
Time seemed to stop as all of this happened. The Doctor felt his arms drop to his sides. He could see her face as she fell- it was completely blank. It was not registering on her face nor in her mind what had happened to her, what was happening to her, and what was going to happen to her. No fear, no nothing. Just blank.
The girl's entire body shuttered from there on the mat. She gasped in pain and curled into a loose ball, but made no attempt to move. Coach ran to her side and squatted down by her; the Doctor took a few steps in the girl's direction before running over, having no regard for whose routine he interrupted on his way.
The Doctor placed a hand on her shoulder, trying to look at her face. "Rose, Rose, what hurts?" he asked.
"My wr- my wrist," she replied, tears running in waterfalls down her cheeks, making tiny pools of water on the mat. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut, like if she just wanted it badly enough she'd be back on the beam, about to land a perfect back handspring.
"Help me lift her," the Doctor ordered.
Coach foundered. "Are you sure we should move her?"
"Yes," the Doctor said, his eyes flaring. "I know what I'm doing, thanks."
Coach frowned and swung one of Rose's arms over her shoulder, the Doctor did the same. They helped her to a standing position.
"Alright," said the Doctor. "Can you walk?"
Rose sucked in a breath. "'Course…I can…walk," she said, holding her wrist like it was a porcelain doll. "Get off," she said, her heart not really in the snap of the remark.
The Doctor frowned and let go of her, as did Coach. Limping, she made her way over mats and springboards, in the direction of the medical station. The Doctor looked at Coach, who just shook her head, smiling slightly in light of the situation.
"There's no talking to Rose," she said, rubbing her face despairingly. "There never is."
The Doctor snorted and the two headed off to the alcove, leaving five other gymnasts, applauding their injured teammate, in their wake.
That's all for now- I hope I've got your interest. Reviews make an author better! And thanks for reading.